The Requirements of a Restaurant Employee Handbook

Here’s Everything That Should Be in Your Restaurant Employee Handbook

According to a new report from Toast, restaurant owners believe the biggest challenge to success is staff problems. To avoid problems with staff down the line, it’s important to onboard and communicate clearly to staff from day 1.

The best way to do this is with a detailed restaurant employee handbook that lays out the job description, staff procedures, workplace professionalism guidelines, and more. This way, both employers and employees can be on the same page for the duration of employment.

Below, we go over all of these sections in detail so you can ramp up your new hires and manage the best staff in the restaurant industry.

Follow Along With a Free Restaurant Employee Handbook Template

Part 1: The Introduction

The fact of the matter is: most people probably won’t read every single word of your handbook – especially if you start off on a boring note. That’s why you have to make this section of your restaurant handbook really stand out. A great opener and introduction reels your new hires in to read all of this important information.

For the intro, consider writing a welcome letter from the founder or owner that covers the company history and the main takeaways you want your new hires to know.

What to Include in This Section

  • A welcoming note or sentiment.
  • A brief history of the restaurant business.
  • A handful of key takeaways.
  • A legal disclaimer explaining this is not a legal contract.
  • A reminder that employment is at-will for both parties.

Part 2: Business Core Values

Does your restaurant have core values? If you answer “no,” you’re sorely mistaken. Every restaurant has core values – but if you haven’t established them yourself, you just have little to no say on what they really are.

In this section, define those all-important core values to get your new hires in the right mindset for a job in this restaurant. Every restaurant is different, so highlight what makes yours unique.

What to Include in This Section

  • A list of your restaurant’s core values and why they were chosen.
  • Your restaurant mission statement.

Part 3: Workplace Professionalism

A certain level of professionalism should always be expected in a restaurant, regardless if you’re a fast casual place or the fanciest bar in the city. This section should encompass the attire, behaviour, and professionalism required from employees in your restaurant.

Like any business, restaurant employees can come back with a wrongful termination lawsuit if they feel they were unjustly dismissed. Clearly, lay out these fireable offences for new hires to be familiar with to avoid a situation like this.

What to Include in This Section

  • An overview of expected conduct and behaviour.
  • Required attire (including grooming and makeup requirements).
  • Protocols for staff and guest conflicts.
  • Harassment policy and fireable offences.

Part 4: Staff Procedures

Here, lay out the duties and responsibilities of each position and an organizational hierarchy if appropriate. Also, make everything that has a process clear. What are the cleaning procedures? Who is in charge of inventory, and what are the best-measuring methods?

What to Include in This Section

  • Pre-shift meeting procedure.
  • Health, sanitation, and allergy protocols.
  • How to use the restaurant’s POS system.
  • Scheduling and time off.
  • Opening and closing checklists.

Part 5: Employee Pay & Benefits Overview

This is the part most of your readers will skip right to. Perks, pay, and benefits are the reasons that we all have jobs in the first place. If you have any special offerings that not many other restaurants do (tip sharing, vacation, etc.), lay them out here to get your new hires excited!

What to Include in This Section

  • How employees will be paid (pay check, direct deposit, etc.).
  • Overtime policy.
  • Breaks and meals.
  • Holidays, vacations, and time off.
  • Insurance.

Part 6: Conclusion & Signature

When employees sign the handbook, they show their understanding of the rules. While this handbook isn’t a contract, it is something you can point to in time of a violation.

Before you get their signature, remind them once again how excited you are for the new hire to join!

What to Include in This Section

  • A final welcoming sentiment.
  • A line for their signature and date.

Creating Your Restaurant Handbook

The importance of the restaurant employee handbook cannot be overstated. It provides direction, instruction, clarity, resources, and more for both new hires and upper management. If your handbook is in need of a refresher, download this restaurant employee handbook template and get to work on your new handbook!